Ruth Chepngetich Runs 2:14:18 to Win 2022 Chicago Marathon after Crazy 65:44 First Half
October 9, 2022
We’ve never seen anything in a women’s marathon like what Ruth Chepngetich did in Chicago on Sunday.
Her winning time of 2:14:18 – the second-best in history, just 14 seconds shy of Brigid Kosgei’s world record set on the same course in 2019 – was fast, but not unprecedented. But no woman has ever attacked a marathon in the manner in which Chepngetich did on a brisk, sunny day in Chicago.
In good conditions for running (temps in the 40s, 10 mph wind), Chepngetich ran her first mile in 4:50, her first 5k in 15:11, and her first 10k in 30:40. At that point, she was 1:55 ahead of the closest woman and a 20-second cushion on every American man in the field save Conner Mantz and Frank Lara. So crazy were Chepngetich’s splits that she spent most of the first 10k running with Pat Tiernan – the former Australian record holder at 10,000 meters (27:22 pb) making his marathon debut. She did not run a mile slower than 5:00 until mile 7, and even then it was a 5:02. (WR pace is 5:06/mile).
Chepngetich covered 10 miles in 49:49 – more than 40 seconds faster than any woman has ever covered the distance in a 10-mile race (though others have split faster in half marathons). She hit halfway with one pacer in a scarcely-believable 65:44, her other pacer having long since begged off the pace.
Chepngetich would start to slow slightly after hitting halfway, but she was still running outrageously fast, splitting 15:53 and 15:58 from 20k to 30k (WR pace is 15:53 per 5k). Chepngetich’s 30k split of 1:34:01 put her on pace for 2:12:14, almost two minutes under Kosgei’s 2:14:04 WR.
But the insane early tempo finally started to take its toll at 30k, and Chepngetich would run her next 5k in 16:24, 31 seconds slower than WR pace. Her split from 35k to 40k was slower still, 16:37, and though her time of 2:07:02 at 40k was still just under WR pace (2:07:05), she would need to rally big time over the final 2.2k in order to get it.
A spent Chepngetich did manage to pick it up a little bit on the way home as she ran her final 2.195k in 7:16 (16:22 5k pace, 2:19:41 marathon pace) but it wasn’t enough and the clock stopped at 2:14:18, still a personal best by almost three minutes to become just the second woman ever under 2:15. Chepngetich did it the hard way as her half splits ended up being 65:44 – 68:34. Behind Chepngetich, Emily Sisson ran 2:18:29 to smash the American record and finish as the runner-up.
The win was Chepngetich’s second straight victory in Chicago and made her the first woman in history to break 2:18 on three separate occasions (Chepngetich ran 2:17:08 in Dubai in 2019 and 2:17:18 in Nagoya earlier this year).
Behind Chepngetich, American Emily Sisson ran a brilliant 2:18:29 to finish second, smashing Keira D’Amato’s 2:19:12 American record in the process.
Full analysis appears below results.
Quick Take: Women’s marathoning has entered a new era
In the last few years, it’s been increasingly common to see the world’s top female marathoners run 2:17 and 2:18. That’s about what you’d expect given the top women in the world were running 2:19 and 2:20 before the introduction of supershoes in 2017. And while Brigid Kosgei ran 2:14:04 in Chicago in 2019, that time was starting to look similar to how Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 had for the previous generation. At the start of 2022, no other active female marathoner had ever broken 2:17.
Now it’s become clear that the world’s best women are capable of running way faster than 2:17. Entering the year, Kosgei’s 2:14:04 and Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 were the only two marathons in history in which a woman had broken 2:17. Now we’ve seen three sub-2:17 marathons in 2022 alone as Kosgei ran 2:16:02 in Tokyo in March, Tigist Assefa 2:15:37 in Berlin in September and now Chepngetich 2:14:18 in Chicago.
Between Kosgei, Chepngetich, Assefa, Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Peres Jepchirchir, there’s a lot of talent in the women’s marathon right now (and remember Letesenbet Gidey is debuting in Valencia in December). If they get good conditions for running – as they had in Berlin and Chicago this year – we’re going to see them continue to redefine what is possible for female marathoners.
Quick Take: Chepngetich likely cost herself the WR today by going out too fast
Last year in Chicago, Chepgnetich went out incredibly fast (67:34) despite warm, humid conditions. She wound up slowing down big-time (74:57 second half) but because the elite field was super shallow, she hung on to win the race in 2:22:31. Chepngetich doesn’t seem to have learned anything from that experience as once again she went out super fast (65:44) before running her second half a lot slower (68:34).
In no way are we calling Chepngetich’s run today a failure. She won the race by more than four minutes and ran the second-fastest time in history. But if Chepngetich wanted the world record, she would have been better served by going out slightly more conservatively. You don’t run your fastest time by running a nearly three-minute positive split. If Chepngetich had gone out in 66:30, she likely would not have given back as much time over the final 12k and may have been able to break the WR.
Quick Take: Emily Sisson was brilliant but Chepngetich is at a whole other level
Sisson was so good, she got her own article here: Emily Sisson Breaks American Marathon Record, Runs 2:18:29 To Finish 2nd in 2022 Chicago Marathon.
That being said, we do think one stat about Sisson is worth putting in here. Sisson went out on AR pace (69:26) and then picked it up and ran her fastest all day from 35k to the finish. It’s really hard to run better than that. Yet as good as Sisson was, her second half split of 69:03 was still significantly slower than what Chepngetich ran (68:34) and Chepngetich was blowing up.
Quick Take: Susanna Sullivan is having a great 2022 and has improved MASSIVELY since college
The 2nd American woman in the race was 32-year-old Susanna Sullivan who finished sixth in a big pb of 2:25:14. Sullivan, who ran collegiately at Notre Dame, came into the year as an experienced marathoner but she’d never broken 2:33. Her official pb was 2:33:27 (Marathon Project 2020) but she’d also run 2:33:22 in Boston last year. Then earlier this year, she ran 2:26:56 on the point-to-point Granmda’s course and now she’s run 2:25 on a records-eligible course.
Her improvement since college is amazing. In college, she was a non-scorer at the Big East level for Notre Dame (74th Big East xc in 2011 as a senior). Her 5k pb was 16:56 – that means she ran it at 5:27 per mile. Today, she ran 42.2km at 5:32.4 mile pace.
Talk about 2022 Chicago on our messageboard.
- Official 2022 Chicago Marathon Thread – live reaction, commentary, analysis
- Connor Mantz – 2:08:16 solid
- Emily MF Sisson – American Record 2:18:29
- CENTRO BACK IN ACTION AT CHICAGO MARATHON 5K
- Ruth Chepngetich 2:14:18 Appreciation thread! after going out in 65:44!
- How about some love for Sussana Sullivan? 16:56 5k in college. Now 2:25:14 for 6th in Chicago!!!
- Conner Mantz Will be a BETTER Marathoner than Galen Rupp
- Emily Sisson’s buildup has been spectacular. She plans on going out in 69:30. Will she get the AR?